Swimming upstream – how a Channel swim made a weekend in Brighton possible

6 November 2018.

Nine excited young people are off on a road trip to Brighton this weekend – thanks to a group of slightly crazy open water swimmers and their relay fundraising effort across the English Channel.

Open water swimming
#swimandtonic crew diving into one of their adventures

The #swimandtonic crew of six – part of a larger group who connect around swimming in quarries, lakes, rivers, lidos, seas and basically anything deeper than a puddle that is outdoors – took to the water last year to raise funds so a group of young disabled people could enjoy a mini break with their friends.

Now the trip is almost a reality, and is just three days away from happening!

This Friday (9 November), the group of nine Coventry Youth Activists (CYA)┬áplus Coleman, Molly, Chloe and Kirsty from Grapevine, will take two mini buses down to Brighton where they’ll enjoy two nights in a hotel, a meeting with Gig Buddies and a gig.

The Sussex-based Gig Buddies project (there are others around the country) is run by the charity Stay Up Late and matches a person with a learning disability with a volunteer buddy who likes similar music so they can enjoy live music together.

CYA at the Godiva Festival
CYA perform at this year’s Godiva Festival

For some of the 13 to 18 year olds, this will be their first overnight stay without a parent or guardian, their first solo road trip and their first gig. The break gives them the opportunity to experience all of these things with their friends, building confidence and independence along the way.

Two mini buses to get them there and back are necessary because the four wheelchair users in the group couldn’t be accommodated on the same train.

We hope you’ll join us in wishing them a safe journey and a great weekend.

Look out for a follow-up post where we’ll be sharing photos and videos from the trip and also what the young people thought about the experience.

Find out more about Mel (Grapevine’s Deputy CEO) and the #swimandtonic crew here.